Crowdfunding update

By Siouxsie Wiles 31/07/2012

It’s been a while since I last blogged as I’ve a few new projects I’ve been distracted with of late. More of those in the near future. But for now, I thought I’d do an update on my crowdfunding effort. In May I took part in the SciFund Challenge, the brain child of two ecologists from the US, Dr. Jai Ranganathan and Dr. Jarrett Byrnes. The concept of crowdfunding, where people use the power of their networks to get small contributions in return for ‘rewards’, has been successfully used by musicians and writers for a while now, so Jai and Jarrett thought why not science?

For the second round of the SciFund Challenge 75 projects were offered up to the public and raised over a staggering US$100,000. That’s 130,000 of our kiwi dollars. My own project, Evolution in Action, convinced 79 people to contribute a total of US$4,480 to my research into infectious diseases. That’s almost 6,000 kiwi dollars and 150% of my target. While I thought contributors would be mostly people I know, in reality over half of them are strangers to me. It took 115 tweets, 137 Facebook likes and 775 views of my video pitch to hook them all in. And because of the power of social media to reach beyond our shores, over half of my contributors are based overseas, split between North America and Europe.

It was hard work, but I’m glad I did it. My aims were to learn to better communicate my science and expand my networks. I learned how to use iMovie (which is fab) and met a load of great people. It has also been nice to see the glowing logo rewards popping up on people’s blogs (here and here). Mission accomplished!

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